AN-OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD contest and an "Evening of the Arts" are two of the many activities planned to promote reading for pleasure this month at Chesapeake Bay and George Fox middle schools.
Chesapeake's language arts department has challenged the more than 1,700 pupils at the school to read their way to the moon and back - a round trip of 442,912 miles - while competing for prizes in the "Trip to the Moon Read-A-Thon." The contest began Oct. 1 and will end Oct. 31.
To participate, pupils pledge to read books for pleasure and collect sponsors to help raise money for classroom libraries. Each page read is counted as a mile toward the journey to the moon and back.
Principal Gary Williams has promised the pupils a celebration on Halloween if they can read enough pages to make the round trip, said Peggy Sange, school reading resource teacher.
By Sange's calculation, if every pupil reads about eight pages a day, the school will reach its goal.
Incentives for pupils to participate include candy bars, a pizza party, an ice cream social and an invitation to the "Let's Go to Space" assembly this month, which will be presented by Marc Clayton, a scientist from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Prizes will be given to the 10 pupils who raise the most pledge money.
A reading rally is also planned at the school. A prize patrol of volunteers will be handing out Jolly Ranchers, a favorite candy of pupils, to those "caught" reading during the rally.
Feedback from CBMS teachers, pupils and parents about the contest has been positive, Sange said.
"We know that the more kids read, the better readers they become," she said, adding that the contest will help the school reach its goal of raising $1,000 for classroom libraries.
Jake Gavin, an eighth-grade science teacher, said the competition among teams has been fierce.
"Right now, my team, the Energizers, leads the eighth grade," he said. "This is getting all students to read more."
Deb Conklin, parent of sixth-grader Sarah Conklin, 10, said her family enjoys reading at home, especially Sarah.
"This contest has been an extra incentive for Sarah to read," she said.
Sarah's younger brother and sister have signed up to sponsor Sarah in her goal to read 1,000 pages during the month.
"My kids have pledged 5 cents a page. What a great way to raise money to buy more books for the classroom libraries," Conklin said.
Sarah said, "I love to read, plus I like the challenge."
With 12 days remaining in the contest, Sange thinks the pupils will achieve the goal of making the lunar round trip.
George Fox Middle School's Library Media Center will encourage reading for pleasure with "Teen Read Week" activities next week at the school.
Meg Kauder, school library media specialist, said this is the school's third year participating in "Teen Read Week," a program created four years ago by the American Library Association to promote reading among youths.
The "Read for the Fun of It" program adopts a theme for each year's campaign. This year's theme draws from the fantasy genre, a la Harry Potter or J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. "Make Reading a Hobbit" encourages pupils to discover the joy of reading.
To celebrate reading at George Fox, the school's reading book club will hold an "Evening of the Arts" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Pupils in grades six through eight will participate, presenting literature, music and art.
Reading club members will read or recite poetry and present excerpts from favorite short stories. Music students will play short instrumental pieces, and the school's select choir will perform. Pupils' artwork will be on display.
"Our students have worked so hard preparing for Wednesday's event," Kauder said. "It should be a special evening."
Galilee Lutheran Church invites the community to its annual harvest bazaar, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the church, 4652 Mountain Road.
Pumpkins, cornstalks, fall decorations and plants will be sold, and a giant "junktique" area will offer secondhand treasures for sale. Shoppers will also be able to buy handcrafted Christmas items, dolls and teddy bears.
For the kids, games, face-painting, a moon bounce and pumpkin painting will be available. Homemade foods, including soups, chili, barbecued chicken, desserts and baked goods, will be sold.
United Methodist Men of Magothy United Methodist Church, 3703 Mountain Road, is sponsoring an all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow in the fellowship hall.
Admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for children younger than 10 and seniors.
Blood drive planned
St. Jane Frances Church is sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28 in the church hall, 8499 Virginia Ave.
Joe Turchetta, church blood drive coordinator, said the community has been outstanding in donating blood at past drives.
"We're counting on the community to come through again," he said. "We collected 112 pints at our last drive, on Aug. 5. We hope to do more this time, and with the community's help we will."
Donors should be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds, should not have received a tattoo in the past year and should have not given blood in the previous 60 days.
Those donating from 9 a.m. to noon will be treated to a free pancake and sausage breakfast. Donors from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will dine on a free crab cake dinner.
Appointments can be made in advance. Walk-in donors will also be accepted.
Class of '71 sets reunion
The Northeast High School Class of 1971 will hold its 30-year reunion from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Nov. 30 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.
Tickets are $40.16 per person. Seats are available.
Information: Diane Chandler McAllister, 410-255-5859, or Jane Harrington Huffman, 410-255-0921.